Massive storm system on the move as death toll climbs

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Snow falls Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, afternoon along Broadway Avenue South in downtown Rochester, Minn. (AP photo/Rochester Post-Bulletin, Andrew Link)
Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com, AP

The storm system that brought tornadoes, ice, snow and flooding to the South and Midwest, killing at least 48 people, is now churning northeast, reports Ashley Roberts of CBS Minnesota.

Swollen rivers flooded dozens of homes in Branson, Missouri and people voluntarily evacuated along Table Rock Lake, which was approaching its highest flood stage ever.

The Mississippi River could also crest at historic levels in Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency.

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"You're in a scenario that no one here has ever been in," the governor said. "I mean, if that river hits the targets that are predicted right now at that Chester gauge, that is higher than the Mississippi River has ever been."

St. Louis is under a flood warning, with seven inches of rain since Saturday.

Residents spent Monday sandbagging and shoring up homes and businesses west of St. Louis near the swollen Meramec River, which was expected to crest 20 feet above flood stage.

High water made a stretch of Interstate 70 impassable. Freezing rain and strong winds meant power lines were twisting and cracking in Western Illinois - nearly everything coated in ice, one-quarter inch-thick.

Strong winds blew over a gas station canopy in southeastern Wisconsin, striking a car and narrowly missing the people who pulled in to refuel.

And along the shores of Chicago's icy Lake Michigan, high waves made for a pretty picture, but not one that was inviting.